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(no subject) [Apr. 22nd, 2018|09:45 pm]
A colleague of mine recently showed me web traffic statistics for dating sites, among which the first place was held by Badoo.com.

I was amazed. I have heard about Badoo, but very rarely and not in the "organic" context like "hey, there's this dating site", but in a professional one, when someone would say they know a friend who is working at Badoo. To see it was receiving more page visits than OkCupid or even Tinder, which, to my ear, are far more recognizable brands, was eye-opening.

So I was amused by some of the Glassdoor reviews of Badoo as an employer:

"Badoo is a heavily Russian dominated company, with that comes rampant sexism, racism and bigotry. Be prepared to work in a micro-managed task driven culture where there is little regard for individual creativity or resourcefulness."

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"The most toxic environment for your mental well-being I have ever seen. Nobody cares about you If you don't speak Russian, you are in the apartheid, and you'll be left out...

...Misogyny, racism and bigotry will be part of your every day. And when you try to raise it, nobody will see the problem with it.

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"Task driven culture". "Rampant sexism, racism and bigotry". "Little regard for individual creativity". It's curious to see how people from abroad view companies originating from Russia.
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(no subject) [Apr. 22nd, 2018|06:41 pm]
From a Reddit discussion of yet another medium post about React's new Context API that adds little to React's (superb!) documentation:

Redditor 1: Came here to say the same. Most of the context api blob [sic!] posts I’ve seen out there don’t add anything over the react documentation. Why do people find it necessary to write the same thing over and over again?

Redditor 2: ‘Blogs and articles are great to have on your CV’ - my company’s social media guy

Gaming the hiring process is one of the reasons why so many superficial blog posts abound

P.S.: By the way, here's another good example of a weak technical blog post, the first half of which (about the four libraries used in the example) is an unfocused fluff, and the second is trivial enough to be better explored elsewhere (e.g. in this earlier and detailed post by Tyler McGinnis).
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(no subject) [Apr. 22nd, 2018|04:06 pm]
Here's a peculiar piece arguing that quitting Facebook is a privilege, a luxury many cannot afford.

Why? Here are her arguments, starting from her own usage:

- the convenience of being able to ping large groups of my friends all at once for some feedback or a couch to sleep on;
- the private groups and communities of friends and strangers that support each other;
- the event invitations to art openings and parties that I’d undoubtedly otherwise miss

She continues:

- for people with marginalized identities, chronic illnesses, or families spread across the world, walking away means leaving behind a potentially vital safety net of support
- small businesses that can’t afford to build a website or post billboard ads use Facebook to find customers;
- plenty of artists and small media outlets rely on the platform to spread their work;
- activists often rely on it to reach potential audiences through which to spread their messages or calls for demonstrations.

She even drags into the argument the modern insensitive villains, white dudes: "a certain demographic — namely, white men — love to argue that people worried about data privacy violations should “just leave”".

To me, this sounds like a very strange understanding of "privilege". Surely, it's the other way around — it was Facebook that giving her the privilege of keeping in touch with her friends and being in the loop about upcoming events. Surely, it was Facebook that was giving small businesses the competitive advantage of finding customers. Choosing a lifestyle or a career that requires you to monitor a social network hardly makes you "unprivileged".

It is kind of like arguing that abstaining from alcohol is a luxury many cannot afford, because they want to party, or to talk to their business partners at dinners, or not to look weird in a company of friends, and so on.
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(no subject) [Apr. 22nd, 2018|01:54 am]
A talk about how beginner programmers struggle with error messages, which is mostly about empathy and so on, with concrete examples which annoy me. Instead of teaching those beginners some heuristics of searching for the causes of their bugs and drilling into them the techniques of using debuggers, the speaker is saying that error messages should be more beginner-friendly. Something like "x.push is not a function" is, according to her, too confusing. And her students, for whatever reason, don't go googling for error messages (like EADDRINUSE) to find out what they may possibly mean.

I mean, I am all for better errors and stuff, especially like the ones that Elm, and now Reason, and to some extent Flow, are boasting, but man, debugging is what developers do on daily basis, beginner or otherwise.
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(no subject) [Apr. 21st, 2018|10:35 pm]
A placeholder screen on Youtube, shown immediately after the initial page load, while the data is still being fetched. I think this is relatively new; if I recall correctly, not a long time ago Youtube page would load already fully rendered.

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(no subject) [Apr. 20th, 2018|12:22 pm]
The post-truth era (if it really existed and wasn't just a catch phrase popular among the left) could help very nicely in the story with the blocking of Telegram in Russia. In such a world, the regulatory agency would perfunctorily block some means of accessing Telegram, while the users would play along and pretend they can't use it anymore. Both sides would then be happy: the regulatory agency would behave as if its job were done, and the users would quietly keep using the messenger.

But in fact it doesn't work like that. Users openly laugh at the efforts of the regulatory agency, and list the ways of accessing the messenger. The founder of the messenger declares that he will always provide a means of using it. And the regulatory agency, in response to all that, is trying more and more damaging measures to block the access.

(I probably should care about the fate of Telegram, given that it can be followed by services that I actually use, but I don't.)
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2018|09:44 pm]
From Pinker's "The Language Instinct" — a task that three-to-five-year-olds solve easily, and that I probably would have failed:

Gordon found that three- to five-year-old children obey this restriction fastidiously. Showing the children a puppet, he first asked them, "Here is a monster who likes to eat mud. What do you call him?" He then gave them the answer, a mud-eater, to get them started. Children like to play along, and the more gruesome the meal, the more eagerly they fill in the blank, often to the dismay of their onlooking parents. The crucial parts came next. A "monster who likes to eat mice," the children said, was a mice-eater. But a "monster who likes to eat rats" was never called a rats-eater, only a rat-eater. (Even the children who made the error mouses in their spontaneous speech never called the puppet a mouses-eater).

I have not developed a mental mechanism that would drive the choice of mice-eater over mouse-eater, or of rat-eater over rats-eater (although anteater is, of course, a ready-made example that, on reflection, may come to mind).
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2018|02:18 am]
By the way, isn't it amazing how the media do not give links to the original sources of their quotes?

As an example, try searching for the phrase "high purity" in connection with OPCW's recent report on a chemical agent used in Salisbury. How many news articles will you find that link to either this page in general or this document (containing the quoted phrase) in particular? CNN, CNBC, Financial Times, Washington Post, ABC News — nope. BBC — yes, and there was also an unreadably small image of the document on Sky News.

I never thought about it, and I realize that they probably repurpose their materials from other, non-web formats, but damn! That means that readers do not generally care to see the evidence (original sources of quotes) mentioned in the news.
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2018|01:44 am]
Sergey Lavrov on BBC's Hardtalk. Although some of his remarks sound reasonable, and others are a disgrace, I just wanted to point out that he again is using the same old "Who benefits" argument:

He is even referring to it as "an old Roman criteria [sic]", as if the old age of this ancient saw is enough to transport it from the hypothetical realm into the domain of modern applied science.

(Obviously, Boris Johnson is countering with the same trite argument when he speaks of "the means, motive and record".)
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(no subject) [Apr. 19th, 2018|12:51 am]
An interesting observation: usually, testing gurus suggest (at least for unit tests) to have only one assertion per test — to make it easier to identify why exactly a test failed; but here, Kent C. Dodds is arguing for the opposite case, because he is using Jest as a test runner, and Jest would point out the exact line where the error inside the test occurred. So if one was splitting their tests artificially, just to follow the one expect per test rule, there is no longer a reason for doing so:

It's about as mindblowing as Evan Czaplicki's statement in one of his Elm talks, where he said that he prefers having longer files instead of splitting them into smaller and more focused files, because Elm's type system helps him focus on the relevant parts on the file anyway, without having to keep in mind everything that's going on in the file.
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